What is dragon boating? 

Dragon boating originates from China, is now a world wide team paddling sport, using either 20 man or 10 boats with decorative dragon heads and tails. The length of the races can be 200m, 500m, 1km or 2km and the normal crew number is 22, including 20 paddlers, 1 steerer and 1 drummer. It is a variation of rowing that originated in China and is still associated with the traditional Chinese dragon boat festival or Tuen Ng Festival in Hong Kong.

Is there an age limit?

In New Zealand the youngest who can race is 12 years old.  There is no limit at the other end.

​​​​​​​What if I don't have a team? 

Check out our teams page from the end of September to find out who is recuiting and attend one of their trainings to try out, or you can look out for our Give It A Go, GIAG events advertised on our FB page.

When should I join?

Dragon boating in Auckland is part of a National programme.  As such we have Regional and National championships end of March.  To ensure you can complete the distances of 200m, 500m and 2km we recommend you start in October to ensure your body is trained for the race distances.  This will give you approximately 30 training sessions that builds you up for these distances.

Do we need our own boat?  

No. Boats are available for practices from October to April at our Association. They are also provided at all our regional Association events.

What about paddles?  

A pool of basic paddles are available during your practices and at the events. However, it is recommended that you or your team purchase your own set of paddles. Contact AucklandDragonboats@gmail.com to find out more on prices.

Do we need a coach?  

Yes.  Coaches teach you the basics of paddling and steering, and they also lead practices. Coaches help your team get into racing form.

Can I coach?

Yes, we have an online coaching module that will teach you the basics of coaching and we'll provide you with a mentor for the season to develop your coaching and leadership skills.

Do we need a sweep?

Yes. Each team should designate a person to learn how to steer.  Learning to sweep is best done as your team learns to paddle as they get better, you get better.  Sweeping is not hard and anyone can do it.

What time should I arrive?  

The boat will leave the docks at the time your practice is scheduled, in this case 5:30 pm. We suggest that you arrive approximately 20 to 30 minutes before your scheduled practice time. This will give you sufficient time to park, stretch, warm-up, etc.

What should I wear for practices?  

Wear comfortable clothing that does not hold or absorb moisture and has a tighter fit rather than loose or baggy. Keep in mind you will warm up quickly after the practice begins. A thermal layer such as Dri-fit / Coolmax or Polypropelene shirt is a good idea. Shorts or similar tights are best for your lower body. You will get wet so be sure not to wear your brand new running shoes. Old shoes, water sandals or aqua socks make the best footwear. You may want to bring a change of clothes for afterwards. Some people prefer to sit on a gardening pad or towel while they are practicing.

Wow - dragon boating looks really hard. Do I need to be super fit? 

Not at all! It's actually one of the easiest sports to learn.  You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to compete in a race, but stamina is something you build up over time when you train with the crew. It doesn't matter if you are unfit when you start out because we'll work on that together in a friendly, highly-supportive environment.

But what if it rains?

Dragon boaters are made of tough stuff, and yes, we even go out in the rain! In fact, it can be quite pleasant as the water is often calm. You're bound to get wet.

But seriously, if it's raining outside, you should turn up anyway where we'll make an assessment prior to getting on the water. Often the weather will blow over by the time training starts, but you just don't know until you get there. We will never go out in dubious weather conditions (white caps or lightning being the main indicators) which may pose a safety risk to the team. And if it does get cancelled, we'll head to dinner at a pub instead!

Can we capsize? 

Yes, dragon boats can capsize. However, as long as you have a Level 2 qualified sweep and follow instructios the chances of capsizing are minimal – it happens very rarely.

What sort of safety measures are in place?  

Each crew is required to go through a safety session where capsize and rescue procedures are taught.  All paddlers must be able to swim 50 meters, are required to wear lifejacket and all training sessions.

What if I can't swim? 

Unfortunately it is a safety requirement of the ADBA that all participants must be able to swim 50m - there are no exceptions.  However it only takes one month to learn to swim.  The YMCA and many other pools offer adult swim classes.  Once you complete this, join dragon boating.

How do I join? 

From the end of September each year keep an eye on our website for teams recruiting new paddlers.

How often do you train? 

Depending on the team, 1-3 times a week from October till March with 3 weeks off at Christmas time.

What days and times are the boats / rescue available?

Monday - Thursday nights 6pm or 7pm.

Sunday mornings 8.30am till midday.

Where is training? 

Westhaven Marina

Public Boat Ramp

Pier Z

Auckland City

Lake Pupuke

Killarney Park

How often do you race? 

Social training races around once a month from November till February then Regional Dragon Boat Championships in March.